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crown of weeds

graciously welcome the truant soul home as you stutter your love--

bathe the body in quinine.
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Recipe for Resurrection
by Amy Gerstler

Bathe the body in quinine.
Then let his wrists
be braceleted with the stings
of tiny iridesacent insects.
A group of ten restless boys
should encircle the sleeper
whose marrow is to be rekindled.
The boys must sneeze violently
without covering their mouths
till the body is wet.
A poultice of figs and licorice
smeared over the lips
has often proved useful.
Rub foot soles with prickly poppy
and buttermilk. Place a live
green tree frog over each nipple
and stroke the frogs tenderly
until they are calm. Cover the empty
genitals with white duck feathers.
Allow relatives to huff and puff
and blow the feathers away.
Under no circumstances should
anyone sweep them up or collect them.
They must float where they will.

Don't let the sleeper stand up
too quickly. Giddy on arising,
he may declare there are swarms
of fireflies swooping through
the room. He'll be hoarse,
prey for days to seaside
complaints, prone to whine
that everything smells of vinegar
(or another pickling solution),
and that, sore all over, nothing
he lies down on is soft enough
anymore. He may try to bite you.
He make talk nonsense, and sob:
Where is the silver forest,
the lapping glassy canal
unruffled by its boats,
the flock of noisy parrots
I was promised?

Resist temptation
to fall to your knees
and beg for his forgiveness. Instead,
armed with pinches and kisses,
fistfuls of pumpkin seeds
and biscuit crumbs, let him
be breathed on by the subtle
dusty gusts from a lily's
golden-tonsilled throat.
Graciously welcome the truant
soul home as you stutter your love--
that thin tuneless exhaust
we exhale every day.
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